Emanuel's wife subpoenaed "provisionally" in ballot case

Testimony next week in residency case

December 10, 2010

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(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)
A hearing Friday took place in the basement below the Chicago election board offices.

Rahm Emanuel's wife may have to testify at a hearing to determine whether the former chief of staff to Presiden Obama is eligible to run for Chicago mayor.

Emanuel faces more than two dozen objections to his candidacy, in part because he moved to Washington a couple years ago to work at the White House. Some of those objecting say they want Emanuel's wife, Amy Rule, to testify.

But in a hearing Friday, the candidate's legal team strenuously objected.

"Ms. Rule is not running for anything," Emanuel attorney Mike Kasper said. "The question is Mr. Emanuel's residency."

Kasper said Rule is still living in Washington, where the couple's children go to school. He said Emanuel himself can answer any questions that would've been posed to his wife.

The hearing officer in charge of the proceedings, Joseph Morris, is siding - for now - with the objectors.

"I am going to rule today, provisionally, to approve a subpoena to Amy Rule," Morris said.

Morris is willing to quash that subpoena, he said, if documents produced over the weekend clear up any questions that only Emanuel's wife could answer.

Testimony in the case is likely to begin Tuesday, with Emanuel as one of the first witnesses called. Other witness include the candidate's friends, neighbors, real estate brokers and Rob and Laurie Halpin, the couple renting the Emanuel family's house on Chicago's North Side.

Morris, speaking at the hearing Friday, set some rather specific ground rules for what is expected to be a large crowd.

"These are going to be long proceedings, so if you want to bring in food, that's fine. But nothing that anybody else can smell. And nothing with crinkly wrappers," Morris said.

Each of the more than two dozen objectors to Emanuel's candidacy will be given a chance to ask questions of witnesses. Testimony from the candidate himself is expected to last hours.

"I think we not only need to be fair and give everybody a fair opportunity to ask questions, but I think people need to come away from the process feeling that it seemed to be fair," Morris said.

But one of the loudest objectors in the case, Jeffrey Joseph Black, accused Morris of running a fraudulent process. He was upset the hearing officer denied his request that a top FBI agent testify about secret files Black claims the agency has kept on Emanuel.